Cabinet of Curiosities,2020, mix-media installation
TheCube Project Space
The work Cabinet of Curiosities by Taiwanese artist Yu Liu is a four-year study and extended interpretation of Rumphius, a biologist who traveled to Ambon Island, Indonesia, with a Dutch East India Company merchant ship in the 17th century. It contains Rumphius’ related documentation, dozens of drawing exercises, and two documentary films. The root of the “drawing exercises” originated from Rumphius’ book The Ambonese Curiosity Cabinet. The forms of the species are described in the form of abstract words in the book, and Liu Yu creates visualization of Rumphius’ adjectives through her imagination. The two documentaries The Blind Creator, shot in Indonesia and the Netherlands respectively, include interviews with scholars from different fields, on-location filming and data collection, and not only trace the origin but also reconstruct the past and present of Rumphius through the different cultural and geopolitical contexts of the two places.
The purpose of Liu’s research on Rumphius is not to restructure the knowledge system of natural history, but to capture a certain perspective of human interpretation of the world. Compared to the world after the scientific era, between the world known to humans and the world of primitive cultures, is there still a certain sensual interplay in the way they interpret everything? In the midst of the pandemic, human beings are compelled to pause and rethink their relationship with the world. This work serves to remind us whether imagination can become another kind of counterforce at this critical moment, outlining another way of looking at the world and facing the unknown at this extraordinary moment.
— Curator｜Yujie Huang
Starting from 2014, Yu Liu gradually develops a series of field studies of documentary nature as a kind of working methodology in relation to her artistic practice. How human visions the world, how attributes of spaces change, and how things are constantly being defined in a system—these all contribute to giving an account on the progression of humanity. A series of works are later created with a research focus on less visible communities marginalized by structural societal factors. The existence of these communities often reflects the intricacies of its contemporary society, and, furthermore, offers a sample of a specific historical moment with regard to a grander context—a boundary-breaking reexamination that helps disrupt strictly defined scientific methodologies and the science institution with which we are all too familiar. Her work draws on a variety of video vocabularies, from textual publications to documentary video. The extensive fieldwork and documentation she has collected in the field has also prompted her to rearrange these linguistic possibilities, making a tightly interlinked and complementary integration of spatial, historical, video and narrative fragments.
Curator : Yujie Huang
Yujie Huang currently lives in Taipei and works as a project manager for TheCube Project Space.Her research interests revolve primarily around the exhibition/curatorial history of contemporary art and the development of new media art in Taiwan. She used to be the executive producer of Documentaries of Distinguished Taiwanese Artists (2019-2020) and a coordinator for several research and museum projects, such as Curators’ Intensive Taipei 19: International Conference and Workshops (2019), Spring Project: Curating History / Histories of Curating in Asia (2018-2019), and Declaration / Documentation: Taipei Biennial 1996-2014 (2016-2017). She was also the co-curator of the group exhibition Aerobraking (2017). Her articles are widely published among various magazines and online platforms, such as Artist, CLABO, and Museology Quarterly.